Jasen Shaw, the Texas-based exotic animal dealer whose business was raided following animal cruelty allegations in December, is now considered a fugitive, the Dallas Morning News reports.
U.S. Global Exotics, the company Shaw operated with his wife, Vanessa, traded in hundreds of thousands of exotic animals and "pocket pets" -- about 500 species in all, including sloths, chinchillas, lemurs, hedgehogs, ferrets, snakes, turtles, lizards, amphibians and spiders -- since the company was founded in 2002. U.S. Global Exotics reported earnings in the millions during each of the years from 2005 through 2007, according to the Morning News.
More than 26,000 of the animals at the Arlington, Tex., facility were seized in the December raid, which was precipitated by a months-long undercover investigation by a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals employee. The investigator, Howard Goldman, provided photographic evidence and undercover video documenting the conditions at U.S. Global Exotics and later offered his testimony about the company in court.
A number of animals were either found dead by rescuers or died shortly after the raid. Jay Sabatucci, manager of animal services with the city of Arlington, reported finding animals that "were not fed, not fed properly, overcrowded and attacking each other. Some were in an environment not proper for them, such as snakes in a 72-degree room with a lamp over them, which is not enough heat and could cause them to die."